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Religious Tolerance logo

NEWS ITEMS AFFECTING GAYS AND LESBIANS

For 2004 - OCTOBER to DECEMBER

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In the following, "SSM" refers to "same-sex marriage."

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News of 2004-OCT. to DEC.:

bullet 2004-OCT-14: NY: State gives limited recognition to same-sex marriages: New York state comptroller, Alan Hevesi, declared that gay partners of New York state government workers who had married in Canada are entitled to the same public pension benefits as married heterosexuals. 1
bullet 2004-OCT-22: USA: Pro-life group recommends severing ties with Girl Guides: According to the Massachusetts Family Institute (MFI), the American Life League (ALL) is recommending that families and groups sever all ties with the Girl Scouts. ALL surveyed Girl Scout councils across the U.S. and found that one in five had some sort of relationship with Planned Parenthood. MFI is also critical of the Girl Scouts because they do not ban lesbians from the organization. 2
bullet 2004-NOV: Europe: Justice commissioner resigns nomination: Rocco Buttiglione of Italy is a conservative Roman Catholic and a friend of Pope John Paul II. During a hearing before the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee, he described homosexuality as a sin and has stated that families exist so that husbands can protect women as they raise children. He was nominated for the post of Justice Commissioner. He said: "I may think that homosexuality is a sin and it has no effect on politics unless I say homosexuality is a crime." He was forced to resign his nomination. 3
bullet 2004-NOV-16: Canada: Conflict between gay human rights and freedom of religion: A meeting was held at the Market Lane Public School in downtown Toronto, ON. There were 150 parents present -- mostly Muslims who wanted their children excluded from classes that discuss families headed by same-sex parents in what the school board calls "anti-homophobia education." Of the 560 students at the school, about 10 to 15% are Muslim, mostly originally from North Africa. The board has a policy of accommodating parents' religious rights. However, Patricia Hayes, a human rights expert with the school board, said: "Religious beliefs do not trump human rights." She also said that if Muslim children were to get up and leave the room when the film was going to be shown, "we would be creating a very toxic learning environment for those other children." At the meeting, a National Film Board Production called "Sticks and Stones" was played. The film is also shown in class. It shows a number of interviews with children of same-sex parents. One child in the film said: "The worst thing about having gay dads is people make fun of you." One of the Muslim parents leaving the meeting was concerned that their religious rights to reject same-sex parenting had received less respect than same-sex parents' rights had received. Mohamed Yassin said: "They showed a gay lifestyle to the kids without the knowledge of the parents. [The school board is]....willing to help gay students with support. Gay people have their rights. I have my rights." Michelle Flecker, a second equity worker, said: "There is sometimes the misunderstanding that anti-homophobia education is sex education. It does not involve the explicit description of sexual activity. It discusses families." She discusses the Toronto board's equity policy as "one of the most inclusive in North America. Anti-homophobia education does not teach children that their family's religion is wrong. It does not influence children's sexual orientation." The board accommodates parents who want their children to have no exposure to sex education. A lesbian introduced her same-sex partner at the meeting and was applauded. She said: "We're not talking about us having sex; we're talking about my daughter receiving respect." Alimamy Bangura, a member of the Campaign for Public Education and a founder of the Muslim Education Network said: "The Muslim community has been well received by the board. In every school where accommodation has been requested by the Muslim community, the board has responded very generously." 4
bullet 2004-NOV-20: Protests against movie about Alexander the Great: Oliver Stone's new movie "Alexander" portrays the life of the ancient Greek hero, Alexander the Great. Included are scenes of passionate embrace between Alexander and his male best friend Hephaestion. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) says the film breaks new ground for a big-budget epic because it shows Hephaestion "as the true love of Alexander's life." An actor in the film says: "Alexander was defeated only once -- by Hephaestion's thighs." Some Greeks are not happy with the movie. A group of lawyers have asked Stone and Warner Brothers to include a message in the film credits saying that the film is fictional. In 2001, hundreds of Macedonians protested at an archaeological seminar after one speaker presented a paper on Alexander's bisexuality. 5
bullet 2004-DEC-2: United Methodist Church (UMC) defrocks lesbian minister: Rev. Irene Elizabeth Stroud, 34, was found guilty by a 13 person jury, composed of fellow Methodist clergy, because of her sexual orientation. UMC regulations forbid "self-avowed, practicing homosexuals" as clergy. The vote was 12 to 1. Nine votes were required to find her guilty.

The case began when she told her bishop and congregation that she was living in a committed relationship with her partner, Chris Paige.

Rev. J. Dennis Williams, Stroud's defense counsel, said that "the heart of the issue is whether all United Methodists, regardless of status, are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities."

The jury voted 7 to 6 to defrock Rev. Stroud. She has 30 days to appeal her conviction. 6 More details.

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References:

  1. "Empire State Strikes Out," Family Research Council, Washington Update newsletter, 2004-OCT-14.
  2. Massachusetts Family Institute, E-Alert, 2004-OCT-22.
  3. "European Official Dumped for Opposing Homosexuality,"Culture Facts, 2004-NOV-5, Family Research Council.
  4. Tess Kalinowski, "Muslim students can't skip gay ed. Matter of respect, public board says. 150 parents debate issue at meeting," The Toronto Star, 2004-NOV-17, Page A1 and A22.
  5. Arthur Spiegelman, " 'Alexander' under fire for bisexual king," Reuters, 2004-NOV-20. at: http://www.reuters.co.uk/
  6. "Methodist jury defrocks lesbian minister," CNN.news, 2004-DEC-03, at: http://www.cnn.com/

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Notice:

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. sec 107: The news items contained in the above hyperlinks are provided without profit by the Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance, Suite 128, 829 Norwest Rd., Kingston ON, Canada, K7P 2N3, and are intended to be available to anyone interested in the topics included, for educational purposes only. Any editor, author, Webmaster, writer, publisher, news service, etc. that objects to being part of this listing may request that future works be excluded. We will also attempt to delete previous entries from the same source.

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Site navigation: Home page > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality > News > here

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Copyright © 2004 by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2004-OCT-15
Latest update: 2004-NOV-23
Compiler: B.A. Robinson

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